A few quick notes. The book will be available on or about October 24th. It will be available through an E Store that will be set up on this website. It will also be available on Amazon.com. You should also be able to order it at book stores although that distribution channel will vary from store to store. It will be available for Kindle. I will do several appearances around the area between the end of October and the holidays and the book will be available at all of those appearances. I’ll promote those here.
If you’d like to be the first on your block to have a copy then plan on attending the Book Launch party on October 22nd at the Market Arms Pub. It’s a combo party and fund raiser for America Scores Seattle. Ross Fletcher is the emcee and several Sounders guests will attend. John and Debbie Bayliss of the Market Arms will offer very generous food and drink specials and the evening will be big fun. Rumor has it legendary Seattle broadcaster Dave Grosby might attend. It should be noted that Dave “plans” on attending a lot of things. So buyer beware. But be honest: you’d love to see this guy:
BOOK LAUNCH PARTY TICKET INFO HERE: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/472984
OK…on to the show. Here’s excerpt #3 which features part of the chapter that details the Sounders first ever game in MLS:
Sigi Schmid and his staff during the National Anthem on March 19th, 2009. (photos by Rod Mar)
KICKOFF NOT ONLY elicited a roar from the crowd but also brought into focus a fact that had been easy to overlook (and fed into Joe Roth’s nervousness) in all the pregame excitement: The MLS runners-up from 2008, the New York Red Bulls, were the opening night opponents. Like any good veteran visiting team, they were feeding off the energy of the crowd and, being the better team, figured to pretty quickly bring the Sounders FC balloon right back down to Earth.
In the third minute the Red Bulls and veteran midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic got their first taste of the Sounders being more than just an opening night expansion team pushover, courtesy of Brad Evans.
“Ubiparipovic took a heavy touch. I remember coming through and I was like ‘fuck it’ — and I smashed him right through his foot. I got the ball first. I cleared it all the way through. He went down holding his ankle and I was just so amped and pumped up. I couldn’t hear the crowd.
“There was just something inside that made me feel like nothing’s going to stop us today. We are turned on and it’s go time!”
It went from go time to goal time eight minutes later. At the 10:58 mark of the first half the Sounders past connected with their future. Sebastien LeToux, who had scored 24 goals in two years with the USL Sounders, played a ball out of traffic in front of the net. Fredy Montero was to his right and completely unmarked. Montero actually waved at LeToux who with a quick punch of his right foot delivered a pass that Montero drilled just to the left of defender Kevin Goldthwaite and just to the right of goalkeeper Danny Cepero.
(In the press box Sounders website writer Matt Gaschk noted that the goal came in the 11th minute. Every other media account of the goal listed it as being scored in the 12th minute. Without question the goal hit the back of the net at the 10:58 mark and thus Gaschk was correct. He got all the validation he needed for his original notation in 2013 when the ECS began singing “Roll on, Columbia” in the 11th minute of games instead of the 12th.)
“I remember the noise that greeted Fredy Montero’s first goal,” says Arlo White. “That guttural roar. I had no idea the crowd would be that big, that fervent, that passionate, that loud, that noisy, and that colorful.”
It wasn’t just the crowd. “There’s a picture of the bench after Fredy’s goal,” says assistant coach Tom Dutra, “And you would have thought we’d just won the World Cup.”
Aaron Reed was standing in the middle of the deliriously happy Emerald City Supporters section where Montero’s goal had triggered a huge celebration. Amid the lovely drunken chaos he remembers having a somewhat sobering realization.
“I thought, ‘Now it’s real, now we’re here, and now we’ve got to win this game.’ It was one thing to be there and it was another thing to be ahead. New York was one of the top teams in the league, we were just supposed to show up and suddenly it was like ‘Man! We might beat these guys.’”
Upstairs in the owner’s box Roth was experiencing a mixture of pleasure and pain. He was thrilled with Montero’s goal, but had subsequently been on the receiving end of wicked high five from Tod Leiweke. “I thought I had a broken hand,” Roth says.
About ten minutes later ESPN commentators JP Dellacamera and John Harkes began a conversation about team co-owner Drew Carey’s idea that allowed for a vote on whether Adrian Hanauer could keep his job as GM. As the conversation continued Evans took a pass from Montero and blasted the ball into the net to double the Sounders margin. “They’re not going to fire him now,” Harkes said as the crowd again exploded and the broadcast cut to shot of a beaming Carey holding a scarf above his head.
“I couldn’t believe it.” Carey says. “I was in shock. It was like going through a rip in space time, where everything was turned around. Seeing soccer stuff in this famous football stadium. The place is packed. People are screaming for soccer. Everything was just crazy.”
With a two-goal lead Seattle was in position to dominate the match. Part of the reason they were able to do so was the effort turned in by defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado that was noteworthy for both its thoroughness and against whom it came.
“I was marking Juan Pablo Angel, who is a legend in Colombia,” says Hurtado, who was nine years old when Angel began his career as a prolific goal scorer at Colombian powerhouse Atletico Nacional. “For me to be marking him in that game and in that environment was a big deal.”
Hurtado says that in the moment he was able to set aside both Angel’s legend and their shared heritage. “It was funny, during the game it didn’t mean anything that he was Colombian. He was just another forward. I only worried about winning the duels within the match.”
As the half went on marketing director John Rizzardini made his way to a perch on the stadium’s unoccupied third deck. Eighteen months of meeting, planning, and hoping were summed up in front of him. He stood alone in the upper part of the stadium and allowed himself to be satisfied and amazed.
“It was one of the finer moments of my career. To start this from scratch and determine what we wanted to be. We discussed everything. What does it sound like? What does it look like? What food are we selling? Who’s there? So opening day, it all feels pretty good, but I still didn’t know what was going to happen. I remember walking out onto the deck on the third level and just looking out at the supporters groups chanting and everyone else standing and there’s all this pageantry. It’s rare in any business to plan something out, walk in, and have it actually happen.”